Illinois Trade Facts

  • In 2018, Illinois exported $65.5 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world.  In 2016, exports from Illinois supported an estimated 325 thousand jobs.

Exports from Illinois and Jobs

  • Illinois was the 6th largest state exporter of goods in 2018.
  • In 2018, Illinois goods exports were $65.5 billion, an increase of 22 percent ($12 billion) from its export level in 2008.
  • Goods exports accounted for 7.6 percent of Illinois GDP in 2018.
  • Illinois goods exports in 2016 (latest year available) supported an estimated 325 thousand jobs. Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Made-in-America Manufacturing Exports from Illinois and Jobs

  • In 2018, Illinois exported $61.4 billion of manufactured products.
  • Illinois exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 268 thousand jobs in 2016.
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is machinery, except electrical, which accounted for $11.8 billion of Illinois's total goods exports in 2018.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are chemicals ($9.1 billion), computer & electronic products ($8.6 billion), transportation equipment ($8.0 billion), and food & kindred products ($4.1 billion).

Exports Sustain Thousands of Illinois Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 22,551 companies exported from Illinois locations in 2016 (latest year available). Of those, 20,182 (90 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Small and medium-sized firms generated 25.3 percent of Illinois's total exports of goods in 2016.

Illinois Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Canada. Illinois exported $17.7 billion in goods to Canada in 2018, representing 27 percent of the state’s total goods exports.
  • Canada was followed by Mexico ($10.2 billion), China ($3.5 billion), Germany ($3.3 billion), and Australia ($3.2 billion).
  • Illinois’s exports (2018 values) to major world areas included:


2018 Value


$45.6 billion


$14.9 billion

European Union

$11.6 billion

South/Central America and Caribbean

$5.1 billion

Sub-Saharan Africa

$951 million

  • 56 percent of Illinois’s exports ($36.4 billion) go to current FTA partners.  

Agriculture in Illinois depends on Exports

  • Illinois is the country’s 3rd largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $8.2 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2017 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).1

  • Top Agricultural exports (2017 Value) were:


2017 Value

 2017 State Rank


$3.1 billion



$1.4 billion


feeds and other feed grains

$1.1 billion


soybean meal

$556 million


grain products, processed

$507 million



International Investment Creates Jobs in Illinois

  • In 2015 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 340,500 Illinois workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Illinois included the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany.
  • Foreign investment in Illinois was responsible for 6.2 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2015.

Illinois’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

  • In 2017 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in Illinois recorded goods exports: Chicago ($46.1 billion), St. Louis ($9.7 billion), Peoria ($9.4 billion), Davenport ($5.4 billion), Rockford ($2.5 billion), Decatur ($2 billion), Kankakee ($1.2 billion), Champaign ($1 billion), Danville ($245.1 million), Carbondale-Marion ($169.8 million), Bloomington ($109.5 million), Springfield ($107.5 million).


[1] Estimates of state exports of agricultural products by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and goods exports by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce are based on different methodologies and are not directly comparable.